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Press Release

Disbarred Attorney Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison For COVID-19 Relief Loan Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that DOUGLAS RAYMOND ARNTSEN was sentenced to nine years in prison for his scheme to defraud the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) of more than $1.4 million in government-funded loans designed to provide relief to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  ARTSEN previously pled guilty before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who imposed today’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Douglas Raymond Arntsen, a disbarred attorney and recidivist fraudster, took advantage of a national emergency to line his pockets, masterminding a scheme to defraud the government out of more than $1.4 million by submitting fraudulent COVID-19 relief loan applications.  Thanks to the hard work of this Office and our law enforcement partners, Arntsen is being held accountable for his fraud.”

According to the Indictment, other public filings, and statements made in court:

Between about June 2020 through about August 2020, DOUGLAS RAYMOND ARNTSEN orchestrated a scheme to defraud the SBA by submitting fraudulent loan applications through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) Program.  In doing so, ARNTSEN recruited multiple co-conspirators.  ARNTSEN promised potential co-conspirators a way out of their difficult financial circumstances.  Certain of those co-conspirators trusted ARNTSEN because they thought he was an attorney.  In reality, ARNTSEN had been disbarred. 

ARNTSEN asked his co-conspirators to give him their personal information, including social security and driver’s license numbers, and then used this information to submit fraudulent loan applications to the EIDL program.  The applications submitted by ARNTSEN falsely claimed that the co-conspirators owned businesses that had substantial revenue.  Often, the co-conspirators named as owners of the businesses, in fact, had no legitimate connection to the businesses at all.  After the loan applications were submitted, ARNTSEN directed his co-conspirators to lie to the SBA during the loan diligence process.

ARNTSEN also directed his co-conspirators to recruit additional participants to his fraudulent scheme.  After one co-conspirator had obtained a fraudulent loan, ARNTSEN directed him, in sum and substance, to “[g]et me one more warm body.”  The co-conspirator proceeded to give ARNTSEN the personal information of a relative, which was then used to obtain another fraudulent loan.

In total, ARNTSEN and his co-conspirators obtained at least approximately $1.4 million in fraudulent loans and attempted to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional loans that the SBA declined to fund.  After one fraudulent loan was approved by the SBA, ARNTSEN texted a co-conspirator, in sum and substance, “Need how you want your bank checks.  Your chariot has arrived this morning.” 

Prior to the instant offense, in 2012, ARNTSEN, then a barred attorney working for Crowell & Moring, was convicted and sentenced to four to 12 years in prison for engaging in a multi-year scheme to steal more than $10 million in clients’ money from escrow accounts.

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In addition to his prison term, ARNTSEN, 45, of Staten Island, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,430,200 and to forfeit the same amount.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and additionally thanked the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Sowlati is in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated May 21, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-178